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Web Hosting Articles - Articles on Web Hosting at Ballistic Domains

Dedicated Hosting Explained

For any website, the domain name and hosting are among the first decisions to be taken. After you have decided on your domain name, made sure it is available and purchased it, the next decision you need to take is about hosting your website. Whether you need Windows or Linux hosting, what hosting configuration do you need and what type of hosting – shared or dedicated – are a few of the decisions you will need to make. The type of website, your expected traffic and a host of other factors can have a bearing on your hosting decision. It’s always better to  arrive at an informed decision and this article will help you understand all you need to know about dedicated hosting, its pros and cons, and whether you need it or not.

What is dedicated hosting?

Simply put, hosting means renting space on a server for your website. Broadly, you have a choice between:

  • Shared hosting: Renting space on a server that is shared by other websites also renting space on it is called shared hosting. This is cheaper because the server rent is shared between all websites that reside on the server. In this type of hosting, the “host” or the company you rent the server space from manages the administration of the server and this means you need less technical knowhow with this type of hosting. This is the most common and preferred option for small or entry-level websites, and for niche businesses where traffic to the website is relatively low.
  • Dedicated hosting: When you rent an entire server dedicated to your website instead of sharing space on the server with other websites, it is called dedicated hosting. This type of hosting is usually appropriate for extremely large websites that have millions of visitors. Because you rent an entire server, dedicated hosting is more expensive and requires considerably more technical knowledge to manage and operate the server.

Who needs dedicated hosting?

If you had a website with millions of pages or millions of visitors, chances are, it would be translating into considerable revenue for the site. If that were the case, any down-time would not just affect perception and image, but could also translate into financial losses. Investing a little additional cost in dedicated hosting and the technical knowhow necessary for it would be a small price to pay to prevent larger losses.

Differences between dedicated hosting and shared hosting

Besides the fact that one is dedicated and one is shared, there are many differences between shared and dedicated hosting. Some of these include:

With dedicated hosting, you can manage server performance:

When you share space and network bandwidth with other websites, what happens to other sites on the server and the network can affect your site. Let’s say one of the sites you shared server space with ran a major advertising campaign that resulted in a sudden spurt of traffic to that website. Or let’s say something happened with one of the other sites to crash the server. All these and more would impact the speed and performance of your website. With dedicated hosting on the other hand, you can plan for the traffic increase and manage the server and network bandwidth, minimizing the impact on your site’s performance.

Dedicated hosting provides flexibility:

When you share server space, the host typically provides infrastructure that most of the sites sharing the space would need. To minimize administrative overhead, there may be restrictions on what you can and cannot install on the server. You would normally not have access to the operating system and server settings. If you have a custom application or database structure or special functionality, it may not be supported by your shared hosting provider. With dedicated hosting, you have complete access to the server. This means you have the flexibility to install any application or functionality that your website needs – and you would also be responsible for managing and maintaining them.

Dedicated hosting is scalable

As a website grows and traffic increases, you might need to augment your hosting infrastructure to support this growth. With shared hosting, the options of scaling may be limited to the amount of space on the server and bandwidth to some extent. With dedicated hosting you will be able to respond to the need to scale in many more ways including – adding hard drives, increasing the server RAM, enhancing the server processing capability, changing or improving the software that you need to support the site, database enhancements and much more.

Dedicated hosting allows you to define the security levels

Most shared hosting providers offer security solutions. However, these are standard basic features that all sites on the server share. With dedicated hosting you can define the security levels you need. Be it firewalls or other forms of encryption and security, you would have complete control over the security of your – and your customer information shared on the site. On the flip side, the responsibility of ensuring security would also lie exclusively on you.

Things to consider before opting for dedicated hosting

  • How does the additional cost compare against the risk?
  • Do you have the technical knowhow to manage a dedicated server?
  • Are you willing to invest in security and server management?
  • Is the complete responsibility of your site desirable or unnerving?
  • The lack of technical support from the host – does this mean less interference to you or is it a deterrent?

These can be the deciding factors in your decision making process. However, for most enterprise level websites that depend on online traffic and its resultant revenue, the decision to opt for dedicated hosting is often a no-brainer. It’s often a necessity for such sites not a matter of choice.
However, not all dedicated hosting is the same. Each host is different in terms of infrastructure, cost and flexibility. You need to opt for a service provider that is the most cost-effective. Cheap dedicated hosting isn’t always a bad option if you partner the write dedicated hosting provider.
Ballistic Domains offers a number of dedicated hosting solutions with a “high value for money” promise. Talk to us about your dedicated hosting requirements and be pleasantly surprised!

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